The Grand National, arguably the biggest race of the British horse racing calendar, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
After growing speculation that the race on 4 April would be run behind closed doors, if it took place at all, Aintree racecourse announced the cancellation of the entire meeting on Monday evening.
“Important information – the 2020 Randox Health Grand National festival cancelled due to coronavirus,” the racecourse’s official account tweeted.
“The Jockey Club has announced that the Grand National Festival will not take place between Thursday 2 April and Saturday 4 April this year,” read a linked statement.
“Following the government’s new public health guidance regarding avoiding social contact and stopping non-essential travel, and its statement that emergency services are withdrawn from supporting mass gatherings from tomorrow, the Jockey Club has decided that it is no longer appropriate to stage the event.”
“Jockey Club Racecourses, which runs Aintree and several of the UK’s leading racecourses, had been assessing the feasibility of running the world’s most famous steeplechase behind closed doors with minimal staff on site. The latest government information on the measures needed to contain the virus have led it to believe this is no longer a viable consideration.”
• This is a developing story. More to follow …